I have been trying to perfect the cinnamon roll recipe for awhile. Some are too dry, some are too cakey, some don’t have enough cinnamon, some are too sweet. I have finally perfected the recipe. After many tries, and I’m sure a few extra pounds, I have come up with a recipe that has the perfect amount of sugary cinnamon with the right softness of dough.
This recipe does not require a lot of ingredients but it does require some time. The rising process is very important in yielding fluffy rolls that goes oh so well with the cinnamon and brown sugar filling. I also think adding a bit of half and half or milk before baking the rolls keeps the rolls moist and gooey and the filling doesn’t dry out. I use instant yeast in this recipe and bread flour. You can substitute all purpose flour and active dry yeast if that’s all you can find. If you are using active yeast you will need to dissolve it in warm (not hot) milk before adding the sugar and eggs. I think instant yeast is easier to work with because you just add it to the flour and it doesn’t need to be activated but really either is fine. Just make sure that your yeast isn’t old. I also like King Arthur bread flour instead of all purpose. King Arthur makes amazing flour. The bread flour is higher in gluten and has 12.7% protein which results in a loftier and consistent texture. I use this flour in all the bread I make. It is also great for homemade pizza dough. If you don’t have bread flour do not worry, you can use all purpose and the rolls will still be delicious. The final touch to making these rolls exceptional is spooning some half and half or milk over each roll after they have risen and before you bake them in the oven. This prevents the rolls, and filling from drying out.
I like a simple powdered sugar frosting, I do not like cream cheese frosting on my cinnamon rolls. I think its too heavy and takes away from the lightness of the rolls. The cinnamon rolls are sweet and decadent enough, the frosting should just add a bit of glaze to the top.
Can I make the dough the night before?
Yes, you can make the recipe up to when you are suppose to let the rolls rise for a second time. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Take the rolls out of the refrigerator and let them rise for about an hour before baking. They should be double the size as when you put in the refrigerator. After the rolls have risen pour half and half over them. Let the half and half absorb into the rolls. Gently pour out liquid that has not been absorbed and bake in oven as directed.
Beef Wellington is an absolutely beautiful dish to serve at a special dinner. It does require a little time but the results are well worth the effort. This dish always reminds me of a time long ago when people hosted formal grand dinner parties in their home. I feel that this dish always makes the dinner feel more elegant. There are many theories regarding the origin of Beef Wellington. One theory is that it is named after the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) who won the battle of Waterloo. According to foods of England there is no mention of Beef Wellington in any English cookbook until about 1970. It is therefore presumed to have French origin and then renamed. No matter the origin, we do know that it dates back to a long time ago when classic technique cooking was popular.
Beef Wellington is definitely a decadent dish. The original recipe calls for Duxelles, Foie Gras and Puff Pastry. In the recipe I was handed down by my mother the Foie Gras has been removed and sliced prosciutto has been added to help seal in the juices and prevent the puff pastry from getting soggy. The use of prosciutto is seen in many modern Beef Wellington recipes. The Duxelles is a combination of mushrooms, I like to use button, portobello and shiitake, that have been chopped and cooked down in butter with shallots and thyme. You can also add a little truffle or Chanterelle to the mix. I also add in a little fresh bread crumbs because I like the texture that it gives to the duxelles. The result is a mushroom paste that is spread over the prosciutto and then wrapped around the tenderloin.
Duxelles with fresh thyme and breadcrumbs. Choose any assorted mushrooms you like and cook down with butter and shallots before adding the thyme and breadcrumbs
You can use a 2 1/2 pound center-cut tenderloin ( will serve 6) that has been tied to retain the shape or you can use 6-8 oz portions if you would like to make individual Beef Wellington. You must sear the meat to seal in the juices before wrapping it in the duxelles, prosciutto and puff pastry. After you sear the meat, remove the string before wrapping. There’s nothing worse then getting a piece of string caught in your mouth. I have deviated from my mother’s recipe slightly after reading that Chef Gordon Ramsey rubs Dijon mustard on the meat before wrapping it. So clever, I just love that guy! After trying this I decided I really liked the flavor and spice that the Dijon mustard gave the dish. Always make sure you wrap the tenderloin securely with the puff pastry and seal the ends well. Do not leave too much dough on the end, you don’t want clumpy ends of dough. After you have wrapped the Filet in puff pastry use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes to create a beautiful design on top. This can be as easy as rolling a thin piece of pastry and creating a vine with leaves or cutting out birds like I did here for Christmas. Use your imagination, it’s your creation. Brush with egg wash before placing in oven to create a beautiful sheen on the pastry when finished. Serve the Wellington with Brandy Shallot Sauce.
How Do You Know How Long To Cook The Meat?
It will take about 35-40 minutes for a 2 1/2 pound tenderloin to reach medium rare (130-135 degrees). I recommend cooking the Wellington at 400 for 40 minutes. You can stick a meat thermometer in the center to check temperature. The ends of the meat will be more well done then the center pieces so you will have a variety of meat temperatures for your guests. Let the Beef Wellington rest for 10 minutes before slicing it. Since it will be so beautiful to look at you should place it on a platter and display it at the table while your guests are sitting down.
Can I Make The Beef Wellington Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can prepare the Beef Wellington according to the recipe up to the step before you wrap it in puff pastry. This can be done up to 12 hours before you are going to cook the Wellington. Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Baking is a great indoor activity. It’s fun to do alone or with friends and family. Christmas cookies should not only look good but they should also taste great. This is a simple recipe that comes together in a matter of minutes. I have been using this recipe since my children were small and each year we set aside an afternoon to bake and decorate cookies. I used to love when they actually believed that they were making cookies for Santa which is why we started calling them Santa Cookies.
This Sugar Cookie recipe is easy and absolutely delicious. It is much easier to roll the dough when it is slightly chilled so you should divide the dough into four pieces, roll them each into a ball and chill. Take them out of the refrigerator when you are ready to roll and cut out the shapes. After cutting the shapes re-roll the scraps and put back in refrigerator for a few minutes so you can use all the dough. This recipe should make about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of the cookie cutters. We like making a variety of sizes, some bite sized and some that are 2 or 3 inches. It’s really up to you.
Carefully use a spatula to lift the cookie off the surface and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do not overtake the cookies, they should only take 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from oven when the edges start to turn a very light brown. Let cool completely before frosting. I recommend making your own frosting and placing it into squeeze bottles. Squeeze bottles makes frosting the cookies much easier and the frosting will not dry out as quickly. The frosting needs to have a little corn syrup in it in order to dry with a nice sheen on top. This makes the cookies absolutely beautiful. Use food coloring to color the frosting and place each in a separate bottle.
The cookies can be stored for 5 days in an airtight container. They are so festive and fun to make and look beautiful served after dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas. The cookies also make a great homemade gift. Buy cookie boxes or tins and wrap a beautiful red ribbon around it to give as a holiday gift to friends and family. Homemade gifts are so thoughtful to give, especially edible ones. They are gifts that took your time to make, which is the greatest gift of all. Please share your cookie pictures with me on instagram by tagging @itsjennsview . I would love to see how they come out!!!
I think that meatloaf is a very underrated dish. People think “boring”, I think delicious. The funny thing is that we served meatloaf on the menu at Grazie and it was extremely popular. Ours was an Italian version of the typical American dish. We topped the meatloaf with a hearty tomato and mushroom sauce and guests loved it. I think that it may be because it reminds people of home. Meatloaf is a comfort food and since Grazie was a neighborhood restaurant people weren’t looking for fancy, they wanted delicious home cooking. There are many different adaptations of meatloaf. Recipes vary the meat used and some don’t use meat at all. I like to use a combination of veal, pork and beef for my meatloaf. This is the classic blend of meat to use in meatloaf recipes. It is also essential to use fresh breadcrumbs, not packaged. I am the first person to try and make a recipe easy but it really makes a difference to make your own fresh breadcrumbs out of white or french bread. I like to buy a loaf of bread, leave it out for a day or two and then make a big batch of crumbs and freeze them in a ziplock bag. You can defrost them as needed.
It is also important to mix all the ingredients well before making a loaf shape to bake in the oven. The liquids need to mix with the breadcrumbs and meat in order to result in a meatloaf that has the right texture and consistency. So take your time mixing with a fork. When forming the loaf shape do not handle the meat too long. You want to gently form the shape and then leave it alone. If you handle meat for meatloaf or meatballs too long it becomes too dense and it will end up being tough. Always let your meatloaf rest for 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven to prevent it from falling apart when you slice.
There is nothing better than a warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. I wanted to make hot chocolate a bit more interesting. The basic hot cocoa recipe will remain the same but we can definitely jazz it up a bit. I find that rimming a glass mug with peppermint, crumbled cookies or graham crackers is always a great way to fancy up hot chocolate. This can also be done ahead of time so all you have to do is make the hot chocolate. Rim the mug with graham cracker crumbs, pour in hot chocolate, add marshmallows and use a torch to ignite the marshmallows and you have my version of S’mores Hot Chocolate. It is also fun to put out a hot chocolate bar for friends and family. to help themselves. Make the hot chocolate and place in a thermos to keep warm, rim several mugs with various toppings like peppermint, oreo crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, mini M&M’s, etc… Put out cinnamon sticks, peppermint sticks, marshmallows, whipped cream. I also put out Baileys, Kahlua, Brandy and Chambord for the adults to mix in for a grown up hot chocolate. Let your imagination go and have fun with it!
Roasting broccoli is so easy, tastes delicious and is very healthy. I think it’s silly when I read a recipe that over-complicates roasted broccoli. All you need to do is cut the florets off of the head of broccoli give them a quick rinse and toss with olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes and you’re done. I like when the the broccoli gets a little char on it. The broccoli remains crisp but tender.
In this recipe I decided to give the broccoli a little kick. I wanted a little more heat in the dish and some more color so I decided to add Jalapeño, Sweet Twister Peppers and Garlic. I sautéed the peppers and garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Oil before tossing with the broccoli. This step allowed the peppers and garlic to flavor the Olive Oil before tossing it with the broccoli. I was having a couple of friends over for dinner and was serving a buffet dinner. I prepped the whole dish ahead of time so all I had to do was pop it in the oven 15 minutes before I wanted to serve dinner. I love recipes that don’t require you to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when your guests have arrived. You should be enjoying your company, not sweating it out in the kitchen.